Risk Qualifications Explained

Risk qualifications explained


It’s been a decade since the credit crunch hit and its domino effect has seen boards recognise the need for better reactiveness, regulators become tougher and the financial services industry place greater importance on risk management.

So for UK candidates wishing to pursue a career in risk, knowing which qualifications could bolster your BSc or BA and practical experience is a helpful step in the right direction. There is no specific degree to guarantee you a job in risk, though popular choices include Maths, finance, business and economics.

As in compliance careers, taking on an MA in finance, or an MBA or CFA* will also serve you well in the long term. Additional qualifications to think about include the PRM (Professional Risk Manager Qualification) and the FRM (Financial Risk Manager’s Qualification).

Globally recognised, the PRM requires some industry work experience, more so if you don’t have a BA, though a CFA will get you through the door without any experience. The PRM comes at a minimum cost of around £1.1k, to cover tuition fees and the four exams you will be expected to pass in order to achieve the qualification. A useful cert to have on your resume, it is often requested if you are applying for risk jobs in the US.

The FRM, which is offered by the Global Association of Risk Professionals (GARP), is another popular qualification for aspiring risk managers. Also benefiting from international recognition, this cert will put candidates to the test via a practice-oriented exam. Undertaking the FRM will enable you to deepen your knowledge and understanding of the expertise and skillset required of a risk professional within the financial services industry. An ally of the PRM, the FRM designation requires a minimum of two years’ work experience in risk management, audit, risk consulting or risk technology. Experience in trading or economics will also be accepted as well as relevant academia or industry research undertaken.

There are other certs you can look into with the Institute of Risk Management and the ICAEW also running diplomas designed to build your knowledge of corporate risk. However, hiring for risk tends to be driven more by industry focus than a particular qualification.

As regulators seek to create greater fairness, transparency and market integrity within the financial services industry, so the emphasis on risk management protocol ranks higher on the board agenda. This focus on risk means those looking to take on risk roles in the UK will need to prove they have what it takes in terms of relevant industry knowledge, an insight into the role of Fintech within the business landscape and the ability to reassure investors and stakeholders that they will be effectively informed and protected.


*Note, that to be a CFA charter-holder, in addition to passing the exams you also need to be employed in a relevant job.

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